Summary: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” Colossians 3:16.

Theme: The Family, the Future of the Church

Text: 1 Sam.2:18-20, 26; Col. 3:12-17; Lk.2:41-52

The celebrations ushering in the New Year tomorrow will, in effect, bring the Christmas celebrations to an end. We cannot, however, afford to forget the good news of Christ’s birth. His birth, sinless life, painful death and resurrection, was God’s chosen way to save men and women and bring them back into His holy family. It is only then that we can live an abundant life in this wicked and cruel world intent on destroying human society and human life. This abundant life is a quality of life that is able to deal with and prevent family conflicts, sexual immorality and child delinquency. This life is able to deal with and prevent greed, envy, deceit and lying and also deal with and prevent alcohol, tobacco and drug addiction, and pornography. The abundant life has no place for stress, depression and lack of sleep. This abundant life cannot be threatened by war or famine neither by crime or violence. The abundant life, however, is only available to those who are members of God’s family and this requires one to be born again and filled with the fullness of Christ.

God, as a Father, created a human family of sons and daughters in His own image and likeness, to rule over His Creation. His plan was to have a human family, Adam and Eve and their descendants, filled with the fullness of His Spirit, rule on earth as He did in heaven. When Adam and Eve sinned, God’s Spirit departed from them, and they became separated from God’s holy family and could no longer rule on earth. This naturally affected their descendants as well. The human family, spiritually dead and separated from God’s family, lost the authority and dominion that God had given them. They could no longer fulfil God’s divine will and plan for their lives. The only way to deal with the problem was to restore God’s Spirit within them and this is the reason why Jesus had to come to earth. He had to be born of a virgin if He was to remain sinless and qualify to pay the penalty for sin, to make His Holy Spirit available to us and to bring us back into the family of God. The Scriptures affirm this in the words “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” 1 Peter 3:18.

God created the human family to reflect and demonstrate the perfect relationship that existed in the Godly family. The family was to be a place of intimacy, unity, love, and understanding. It was to be the place where children would grow up to know their heavenly Father and thereby their own identity and value as children of God. It was to be the place where total trust and obedience would go hand in hand. And it was to be the place where one could be assured of absolute safety and security. This, unfortunately, is not the case in many families today because of the effects of sin. Instead of experiencing love, peace and joy and enjoying the protection of the family the most vulnerable people are experiencing physical and emotional abuse. Women and children are being assaulted, raped, sold into slavery and murdered even by members of their own family. These vices have become so common that it is now a pattern of behaviour that certain people follow. We all learn by following the example of others especially those who have made an impact on our lives. Those who make the most impact on children are their parents. The story is told of a young couple returning home from work one afternoon. They met their new minister in their neighbourhood and invited him in. They opened their front door only to hear their nine-year-old son and seven year old daughter yelling at each other at the top of their voices. Alarmed they all rushed in to find out what was going on. “What on earth is going on here?” the parents asked. Their son looked at them with a surprised expression on his face for a moment, then smiled and replied “Oh, there is nothing wrong. We were just playing daddy and mummy.” Children are very good learners and the people who influence them most are the parents. Is it any wonder that they grow up becoming like their parents? We all need the Holy Spirit to lead the abundant life and this makes the most important decision in life the decision to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. This is necessary because this is the only way to be born again into the family of God.

Without the fullness of God’s Spirit men and women cannot fulfil God’s plan to rule on earth as His beloved and royal family. God, however, has made it possible for us to receive His Holy Spirit. He did this by choosing Abraham to be the head of a new family through whom He would restore man’s rule on earth. According to the Scriptures God chose Abraham because He knew that Abraham would trust, obey and worship Him. He knew that he would be a father who was capable of teaching his children and household to keep the way of the Lord. (Genesis 18) “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” Romans 4:3. He was so obedient that he was ready to sacrifice his long awaited and beloved son Isaac when God demanded that he did. Like Abraham, husbands and fathers under the Lordship of Christ, have a God-given role in the family. They have the responsibility to pray and intercede for their families, teach them about Christ and take care of them as they grow to be like Christ.

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